21615 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014

Jen Oh

Eating

The Family Meal: Dinner

Dinner is the one meal we all sit at the table and eat together. When Marc and I found out how few people actually take the time to do this, we promised ourselves that we would try to eat together for as long as possible. We all have extremely busy schedules and with work – this can be a challenge, but we have found some great tricks along the way that I thought I’d share.

Lunch-the dreaded meal

One of the best compliments we receive is that our 4 year old son is a great eater. He actually prefers veggies and fruits and eats a lot. He’s as adventurous as you can hope a 4 year old would be and will at least try a bite of anything new. This is something our family has agreed upon – all of us – we don’t have to finish any dish, but you must at least try a few bites of anything new.

I was really surprised when his preschool teacher informed me that food was one of the biggest issues they have at the school. Many kids don’t eat, are picky, or have bad foods provided. I found out that one of the biggest questions parents have for the teacher is – what should I pack for my child to eat? What is quick, easy, nutritious, and that my kids will eat?

The most important meal of the day: Breakfast

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the daily. Sadly, this is the one that most people skip. But, breakfast is very important. It sets the tone for the day. Its like making sure you have gas in your car before you start the engine. By starting the day right, you give yourself an edge on having a great day. For kids, breakfast is essential. The differences in their comprehension, mood, and concentration are astounding. Even The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion created policies to ensure that school age children were able to obtain breakfast at public schools. Don’t let time in the morning or effort convince you to just send them to school to fend for themselves. If you are able to provide a good breakfast for your children, it is crucial to do so. Schools are on tight budgets and the foods they are able to provide are often a compromise between quality and cost.

Coming up Sauerkraut

I started getting into sauerkraut a year ago when I became obsessed with pro biotics. I have tried to eat pro biotic foods for years and have been making yogurt since I realized it was costing me $12 a week for organic whole milk yogurt for my son. But it wasn’t until last year that I really started to look at all of the different foods that are pro biotic.

The truth about flour

For the last few years, I have been milling my own grains. Of all the things I do - composting, eating organic, trying to reduce our carbon footprint, etc - this is the one thing that raises the most eyebrows...grind your own wheat and other grains? Now, that's going too far...or is it? I grew up in the San Francisco bay area, sourdough (but still white bread) was a staple. I moved to NYC (Brooklyn Girl, thank you) and bagels became a staple. I have bread almost daily - if not with every meal. So, eating the best tasting and best for me is important. My love of bread is also something my entire family shares. So of course, I want to get the most out of it.

All about Water Kefir

Let me just start by saying: Water Kefir is awesome! I love it. I am a carbonated drink girl. I used to drink tons of soda and wanted to stop. I tried tons of different options, but always missed soda. Even if you aren’t interested in the health benefits of water kefir, think about the expense. The cost of water kefir is a fraction of the cost for soda!

Water kefir is a probiotic, which means its full of healthy goodness. There are tons of whole food probiotics out there: yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, and miso are just a few. Check out Wise Geek’s page for a complete description on what is a probiotic and what foods are probiotics. We try to eat at least one probiotic food a day (the more the better). When we feel run down, I amp that up to a few a day. It’s not hard for us to have yogurt in the morning, a pickle for lunch and miso or kimchi with dinner. If people around you are sick, one of the best preventatives is to eat probiotic foods. Yes, you can take a probiotic vitamin/pill, but usually those only contain 1 or 2 …

Mozzarella changed my life

Learning to make mozzarella was a huge turning point for me. For a long time, foods held a certain amount of mystery for me. I took for granted what went into making certain things. I was a Food TV junkie that was an observer not a participant. I’d seen at least a half dozen shows about making mozzarella, but never did I really consider making it. But, I found out it was EASY and it really did change my life.

I guess my turning point was when I read, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. If you haven’t read this book, go and get it! It’s worth it. It’s the memoirs of a family that works as a family, eats as a family, and lives as a family should. Here is where I learned that you don’t have to be a chef to make good food. Through her experiences, she taught me to believe I could make foods I never thought I’d try. She discusses her desire to make cheese. Her desire made me curious to see if it was really as simple as she made it seem.

Food Frugal

Food expenses are some of the most daunting areas to try to save. We eat ONLY organic. Even from the farmers market, etc – due to residual pesticides that can be in the soil, we have chosen to go only certified organic because of the extensive soil testing that occurs when farms are certified. Due to our choices, food expenses could be extremely high, but we have been able to keep our expenses low (at approx. $150 for a family of 3 -and a 1 yr old)

Most of us do not pre-plan meals or come up with extensive shopping lists before heading to the store. It takes extra planning at first, but once you get a system going – the amount you can save is significant.